“A retail market for surveillance tools has sprung up from ‘nearly zero’ in 2001 to about $5 billion a year”, the Wall Street Journal reported in 2011. Governments around the world increasingly rely on the private sector and commercial technologies for monitoring and surveillance, including technology made in the U.S. and Europe.
This dual-use technology has been abused for surveillance and political control and has already led to horrific instances of internal repression, the suppression of journalism and civil society, and other violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms in some countries.
Export controls are one policy option to address this problem. New controls adopted by 41 states through the Wassenaar Arrangement provide an opportunity to update existing export control regulations to reflect this new technological reality. Organizations and advocates in the US and Europe have been focusing on informing this debate.
The New America Foundation hosted this event with introductory remarks by Rebecca MacKinnon
. The event also served to launch a new report jointly developed by New America’s Open Technology Institute, Privacy International based in the United Kingdom, and Digitale Gesellschaft based in Germany. The report provides an overview of the problem, existing provisions in export control regulations in the US, the UK, and Germany relating to surveillance and human rights, and an analysis of the recent Wassenaar changes.Join the conversation online by following @OTI.